McDonald's and Food Allergies: A Few Fast Food Tips

McDonald's Hamburgers and Dairy Allergy
I've mentioned in the past that McDonald's has become our go-to restaurant when we're traveling or otherwise on the go. We stopped there last week and I wanted to share our experience:

Us to cashier: "We'd like two hamburgers, but our son is very allergic to milk and eggs so please ask the person making the burgers to change their gloves and use clean utensils. Please make sure they don't touch anything like cheese while making the burgers."

Cashier: "Certainly"

Cashier turns toward food prep area.

"GRILL CREW," (all McDonald's employees in the vicinity stop what they are doing and turn to her- including the guy mopping the floor) "WE'VE GOT A FOOD ALLERGY! CHANGE YOUR GLOVES AND DON'T TOUCH ANY CHEESE!"

It was like an airport lock-down.

Cashier, turning back to us says sweetly: "Will that be everything?"

She then positioned herself to watch her grill crew make those burgers. We all saw both employees change their gloves (even though only one of them actually prepared our food) and pointedly concentrate on the task at hand. The openness of the kitchen area allows everyone to see exactly what is going on (This came in handy a few weeks ago when we were traveling and I had to alert a McDonald's manager that an employee grabbed a slice of cheese and hurriedly put it down to continue making our burgers. The manager apologized and re-made the burgers.).

Here are a few tips we've learned about ordering at fast food restaurants:
  • Avoid the drive-through.
  • Try to arrive at less busy times.
  • Be clear about the food allergies and what you need for them to do.
  • Model a consistent dialogue and tone knowing that your child will eventually need to order for him/her self
  • Watch the food preparation.
  • Don't hesitate to alert the manager if you are uncomfortable with anything you've seen.
  • Thank the employees for their extra efforts.
Remember to check out Allergy Eats to find and rate restaurants. The more ratings, the more helpful the information will be. Happy dining!

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